The Ford Flex is one of the most stylish crossovers on the market, and works well as a people carrier or cargo hauler.
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The car isn't much taller than a typical sedan, making access to the seats easy and lowering the center of gravity for better cornering.
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The SEL and Limited trims of the Flex can be had with Ford's new EcoBoost engine. EcoBoost models also come standard with all-wheel drive.
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The EcoBoost engine is a direct injected 3.5-liter V-6 with dual turbochargers, making a whopping 355 horsepower, about 100 more than the base 3.5-liter V-6.
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The Flex comes standard with third-row seating, making for seven-passenger capacity. This version replaced the middle-row bench with two autofolding bucket seats, reducing the capacity to six passengers but allowing for more internal flexibility.
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With its all-wheel-drive system, the Flex shunts power to the rear wheels as needed. We drove it on some gravel roads and appreciated the extra grip.
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With the third row up, cargo space is almost eliminated. But with both the third row and the middle row down, it becomes very roomy.
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Ford makes its full array of cabin electronics available in the Flex, but this version lacks the optional navigation system. We highly recommend the navigation option, as it shows traffic, weather, and gas prices.
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The voice command button on the steering wheel is very useful in the Flex, as it lets you ask the Sync system to play music by artist and album name, and place calls by contact name.
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During our time with the EcoBoost Flex, we achieved 20 mpg with a lot of freeway driving. The EPA gives it 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, pretty good numbers considering the amount of horsepower.
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A six-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the Ford Flex. With the EcoBoost engine, it includes a manual mode for gear selection.
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The Sync system now includes a navigation option, which downloads turn-by-turn directions from an external server. These directions show up on the radio display.
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Sync has excellent MP3 player integration, showing artist and album information, and letting you browse music with the radio display.
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Other music sources include a six-disc changer, which can play MP3 tracks, satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming, and USB drives.
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The premium Sony audio system includes 12 speakers and delivers very good sound quality.